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FDA Regulates Tobacco, And Phillip Morris Cheers - Forbes.com
FDA Regulates Tobacco - and Phillip Morris Cheers WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate voted 79-17 Thursday to give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco, giving Uncle Sam oversight of a product that kills 440,000 Americans each year. And joining the chorus of hurrahs from more than 1,000 public health groups: the Marlboro Man. "We believe that consumers c......

FDA Regulates Tobacco - and Phillip Morris Cheers

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate voted 79-17 Thursday to give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco, giving Uncle Sam oversight of a product that kills 440,000 Americans each year.

And joining the chorus of hurrahs from more than 1,000 public health groups: the Marlboro Man.

"We believe that consumers could be the primary beneficiaries of such regulation," says Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Altria Group, which makes Marlboros and more than a dozen other cigarette brands through its subsidiary, Philip Morris USA.

Their reasons for cheering aren't all so high minded. The bill, already passed by the House of Representatives, will change the face of the tobacco industry by giving the FDA the authority to restrict tobacco product ingredients, impose nicotine caps and limit advertising campaigns. It solidifies the position of the producer with the greatest market share--Altria--which makes 50% of all cigarettes in the U.S.

Because the domestic cigarette market is shrinking every year, manufacturers are competing fiercely for customers. Companies like R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco argue that under FDA regulation, they´ll have trouble convincing people to switch to their brands because of stringent advertising restrictions. That means no more sponsorship of sports and entertainment events, color or photo ads in publications with significant teen readership, or free gifts with tobacco products.

"Bringing new products to market will be extremely difficult," says Maura Payne, a spokeswoman for Reynolds America, which owns R.J. Reynolds, maker of Camel, Winston, Doral and other cigarette brands.

Lorillard in particular has much at stake because its advertising strategies have helped boost sales of its popular Newport cigarettes and menthol brands. Lorillard officials were not immediately available for comment after Thursday´s vote.

The bill will ding Altria in at least one regard: Tobacco regulation will be funded by fees levied on tobacco companies in proportion to market share. An Altria spokesman declined to comment on how much the new regulations will cost the company.

Congress´ passage of the bill settles a decades-old dispute over how to regulate tobacco products, and it exposes makers of all tobacco products to higher standards. Tobacco foes and public health groups like the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association hailed the legislation.

It "attacks tobacco marketing, strengthens health warnings, eliminates misleading terms like ´low tar,´ and prohibits unsubstantiated claims that some products are safer than others," argues Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Tobacco products will be prohibited from carrying an FDA logo to prevent them from appearing "safe," and will require large, graphic warnings covering 50% of the front packaging.

But the new oversight authority also raises a question about the FDA´s ability to handle more oversight. Critics like Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, the top Republican on the Senate´s health committee, argue that that the FDA is already overburdened with regulation of food, cosmetics, drugs and medical devices.

Not so, retorts Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who sponsored the bill. "Not a single dollar will be diverted from FDA´s existing responsibilities," he says. The Obama administration´s budget proposal for fiscal year 2010 expands funding for the FDA by 19% to $3.2 billion--the largest increase in the agency´s history.


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4212

US appoints 'Bailouts' executive paymaster
US appoints executive paymaster The US has appointed a "pay czar" to review executive compensation packages for firms that have received government bail-outs. Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer, will have the power to set the pay and bonuses of executives at some of the biggest US companies. These firms include Bank of America, Citigroup and General Motors. T......

US appoints executive paymaster

The US has appointed a "pay czar" to review executive compensation packages for firms that have received government bail-outs.

Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer, will have the power to set the pay and bonuses of executives at some of the biggest US companies.

These firms include Bank of America, Citigroup and General Motors.

The appointment is part of a wider set of recommendations on pay that could affect all publicly traded companies.

Bonuses awarded to executives at collapsed insurer AIG caused an uproar earlier this year.

Bigger voice

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the administration would also urge new laws to give shareholders greater say on executive pay and to require corporate compensation committees to be independent from company management.

According to the New York Times, Mr Feinberg is a well-known mediator who came to prominence when tasked with assigning a financial value to lives of victims of the 9/11 attacks to help avoid lawsuits.

The newspaper said he would set the pay for top 25 executives at AIG, Citibank, Chrysler, Chrysler Credit, General Motors, car finance firm GMAC and Bank of America,

For the 80 or so other financial institutions that have received government assistance, Mr Feinberg will develop a compensation structure without setting the exact level of pay.

"The financial crisis had many significant causes, but executive compensation practices were a contributing factor," said Mr Geithner.

"Incentives for short-term gains overwhelmed the checks and balances meant to mitigate against the risk of excess leverage (debt)," he added.

Pay back

The move to closer regulate executive pay comes after the US allowed 10 of its largest banks to repay $68bn (£42bn) in government bail-out money.

These banks, which included JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, will not be subject to the government's pay czar.

They had passed US government´s stress tests in May that assessed whether banks had the money to withstand further shocks to the economy.


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4201

George Soros: China a 'positive force' - People's Daily Online
George Soros: China a 'positive force´ American billionaire financier George Soros said Sunday that China´s economy will grow faster than people expect and so will its global economic influence. Soros said in Shanghai that China´s influence is set to grow faster than before, as its banking system is kept healthy and kicking, and a prompt and strong government in......

George Soros: China a 'positive force´

American billionaire financier George Soros said Sunday that China´s economy will grow faster than people expect and so will its global economic influence.

Soros said in Shanghai that China´s influence is set to grow faster than before, as its banking system is kept healthy and kicking, and a prompt and strong government intervention to rev up a slowing economy late last year.

Meanwhile, he was cautious estimating a recent rally in global stock markets, including in New York and London, given the liquidity problem in the Western markets which have made many investors still sitting on the sidelines.

"In many ways, Chinese banks have benefited from being isolated from the rest of the world and is in better shape than the international banking system," he told an audience at Shanghai´s Fudan University.

Beijing´s strong oversight on banking practices and capital moves have helped to shield Chinese financial institutions from the worst of the global crisis, he emphasized.

"The influence of the state is also greater. So when the government says ´lend´, banks lend," Soros said. "This puts China in a better position to recover from the recession and that is in fact what has happened now."

New loans by Chinese commercial banks surged to record levels in the first four months, spurring optimism over recovery prospects for the world´s second-largest economy, many analysts believe.

"China is going to be a positive force in the world and the market, and as a consequence, its power and influence are likely to grow. Personally, I believe it´s going to grow faster than most people now expect," Soros said.

He also noted that China´s aggressive 4 trillion yuan (US$586 billion) economic stimulus program, announced at the end of last year, had bolstered Chinese economy gravely.

"If that program proves inadequate, it is in a position to apply additional stimulus. China is also in a position to foster a revival of its exports by extending credit and investing abroad," he said.

He reiterated his view that because China´s economy is about one-third the size of the U.S. economy, it cannot replace the American consumer as the motor of the global economy.

He sounded a more upbeat note for China´s equity markets than for global markets overall, where he remained wary.

"I´m pretty cautious. Even though I´ve said prices are cheap, I´m not so optimistic as to put all my money into stocks or assets because I think that the outlook is fairly uncertain.

"I do, however, think that the Chinese economy is a promising economy. I think here it is more a matter of finding the right assets rather than saying that I´m not interested in investing."


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4192

FT.com / UK - Economists see pause in recession
UK Economists see pause in recession The recession is over for now, the majority of City economists polled by the Financial Times believe. In a survey conducted at the end of last week, 11 out of 20 economists said the economy had stopped contracting in June and was likely to start growing in coming months. The majority of those believing the economy was still shrinking thought the b......

UK Economists see pause in recession

The recession is over for now, the majority of City economists polled by the Financial Times believe.

In a survey conducted at the end of last week, 11 out of 20 economists said the economy had stopped contracting in June and was likely to start growing in coming months. The majority of those believing the economy was still shrinking thought the bottom of the downturn was near.

The survey suggests the government’s forecast in the Budget that growth would return only by the fourth quarter of this year may have been too pessimistic. It also offers hope for Gordon Brown that if he can hold on to his job he may be able to reap the benefits of an upturn.

City economists are gathering on Monday for a conference with the interest rate setters at the Bank of England. Their growing cheer is at odds with the more gloomy tone struck by Mervyn King, Bank governor.

The last time analysts met members of the monetary policy committee for a similar event last autumn, the Bank was slow to acknowledge the recession had begun – and the City is beginning to think the Bank once again risks being behind the times.

Alan Clarke of BNP Paribas told the FT: “The outlook for gross domestic product over the remainder of the year has improved dramatically,the recession is over.”

Melanie Baker of Morgan Stanley said: “Our central forecast is for a (small) positive GDP growth number in the second quarter already.” JPMorgan’s Malcolm Barr added: “Our assessment is that overall GDP has likely stabilised in mid second quarter and that we are making a transition into modest positive growth as the data move into the third quarter.”

The increasing optimism among economists is also reflected in the wider population. In last week’s Nationwide consumer confidence indicator, as many respondents thought the economic situation in six months’ time would be better than today as believed the outlook would be worse. As recently as March, the same survey showed twice as many respondents gloomy about the UK’s economic prospects than those who were optimistic. City economists have been swayed by a raft of better-than-expected figures ranging from stable official manufacturing and service sector output figures in March and indications from surveys of purchasing managers that order books are once again rising.

Many forecasts have been upset by a dramatic rundown of inventories – which are notoriously difficult to predict. The sell-off of stocks meant that many factories had to cut production, delivering an unexpectedly rapid cut to the output of the economy.

Equally, a pick-up in manufacturing will give a quick boost to growth. But the question remains how sustainable that will be.

“Growth is likely to remain below potential for some time. In turn, this points to ongoing increases in unemployment,” said Mr Clarke. “Things will still feel awful for a long time.”

In the short term, a bounce-back in production may peter out if underlying demand does not improve.

“An inventory-led bounce will boost output through the summer, thereafter I would look for a fallback as final demand falters,” argues Keith Wade of Schroders.

The recession would not feel as if it is over because unemployment will still be rising. Joblessness would also heighten the risks of inflation remaining too low for too long.

Households’ efforts to save and pay down debts is expected to depress spending on everything from clothes to cars to hotels.

Unresolved problems in the banking system will restrict credit flowing around the economy, holding back business investment and home buying.

And to top it off, any recovery over the next few years faces the risk of being cut off in mid-sprout as the next government slashes spending and raises taxes in order to pay off soaring deficits, and if the Bank is forced to step in and tighten monetary policy brutally to nip inflation.

Peter Spencer, an economist at the University of York and the Item Club, worries about a “Japanese-style relapse”.

The danger for the medium term, many added, was of a second recessionary dip.


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4184

Jobless rate in UK to keep rising long after end of recession: report - People's Daily Online
Jobless rate in UK to keep rising long after end of recession: report There were fresh signs that the British economic outlook may be brightening but unemployment in the country will carry on rising long after the recession ends, The Economist said in its latest issue seen on Saturday. So far the British employment has fallen by 1 percent since it peaked at 29.5 million in the second ......

Jobless rate in UK to keep rising long after end of recession: report

There were fresh signs that the British economic outlook may be brightening but unemployment in the country will carry on rising long after the recession ends, The Economist said in its latest issue seen on Saturday.

So far the British employment has fallen by 1 percent since it peaked at 29.5 million in the second quarter of 2008. That is about the same drop as at a similar stage in the economic downturn of the early 1980s, and a bit less than the 1.5-percent decline in the early 1990s, said The Economist in an article in the June 6-12issue.

However, the UK jobless rate rose from 5.5 percent of the labor force before the previous recession to 11.9 percent three years after it ended in early 1980s. And, in early 1990s, jobless rate increased from 6.9 percent to 10.6 percent after a sustained recovery has started, the article said.

These precedents suggest that the UK unemployment rate, which has already gone up from 5.4 percent in spring 2008 to 7.1 percent now, will carry on rising and end a lot higher, almost certainly above 10 percent, The Economist said.

The ranks of jobless in Britain have already swollen to 2.2 million at present, the largest since 1996.

Source:Xinhua


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4183

India 'to boost economic growth'
India 'to boost economic growth´ India´s new Congress-led government will focus on reviving economic growth and helping millions of poor people, President Pratibha Patil has said. She set out the government´s agenda in a speech to both houses of parliament. The first priority was to counter the effects of global economic slowdown, she said, adding th......

India 'to boost economic growth´

India´s new Congress-led government will focus on reviving economic growth and helping millions of poor people, President Pratibha Patil has said.

She set out the government´s agenda in a speech to both houses of parliament. The first priority was to counter the effects of global economic slowdown, she said, adding that welfare schemes would also continue.

The president said the government would seek to mend fences with Pakistan - provided it confronted "terrorists".

Congress and its allies won a sweeping general election victory in May. The strong showing has raised expectations the government will push ahead with economic reforms.

Investment

In her address - prepared in consultation with the cabinet - President Patil said the government would aim to revive economic growth.

There would be higher investment in sectors such as infrastructure, while maintaining fiscal prudence, she said.

"The current financial year is expected to see a slowing down of growth on account of the global recession.

"Our immediate priority must be to focus on management of the economy that will counter the effect of the global slowdown."

She said the government would take steps to encourage foreign investment in-flows, list shares in state-run firms and provide banks with more capital.

The government also plans to continue several of its pro-poor and welfare policies.

Welfare schemes for farmers, better health facilities for rural areas and an expansion of a rural employment guarantee scheme will be high on the agenda, the president said.

Families below the poverty line will be allotted 25kg of rice or wheat every month at 3 rupees a kilo.

Diplomacy

Pratibha Patil said Delhi would work with its neighbours to ensure the region´s full potential.

"My government will seek to reshape our relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of Pakistan´s actions to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory," she told parliament.

There would be a "zero-tolerance" approach to terrorism "from whatever source it originates".

Relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated after India blamed Pakistan-based militants for last November´s Mumbai attacks which killed at least 170 people, nine of them gunmen.

Delhi reacted with dismay earlier this week when a Pakistani court ordered the release from house arrest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who India links to the Mumbai attacks.

The charity he heads is accused of being a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned militant group he founded which India says was behind the attacks.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa denies any links with militants.

The US - which lists Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a terrorist organisation - was also disappointed.

"We continue to impress upon the government of Pakistan the importance of bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said on Wednesday.

"Pakistan has a special responsibility to do so, transparently, fully and urgently."


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4161

GM bankruptcy filing to have no impact on China business - People's Daily Online
GM bankruptcy filing to have no impact on China business The bankruptcy of General Motors Corp. in the United States will have no impact on GM's operation in China, GM China Group said Monday. "Our operations across China will operate normally," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China Group. "Our customers will continue to receive top-notch s......

GM bankruptcy filing to have no impact on China business

The bankruptcy of General Motors Corp. in the United States will have no impact on GM's operation in China, GM China Group said Monday.

"Our operations across China will operate normally," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China Group.

"Our customers will continue to receive top-notch service and warranty coverage, while our dealers will continue to receive product and after-sales parts as usual," Wale said.

"There will be no impact on payments to employees, dealers or suppliers contracted to GM China or to our joint ventures."

In the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history, General Motors Corp., the top U.S. automaker and once the world´s largest corporation, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Hoping to reemerge from bankruptcy protection as a new, leaner company within 60 to 90 days, GM will close 11 U.S. factories and suspend operations at three others to slash operating costs. It has been looking to cut 21,000 factory jobs from the 54,000 workers it employs in the United States.

GM has eight joint ventures and almost 25,000 employees in China. Last year, GM´s sales in China were 1.09 million units, continuing its lead in the market.

GM China emphasized that its business strategy in China and its plans for continued growth remain unchanged.

"GM has a specific development plan in China for the next five years that demonstrates our great confidence in the country," said Wale.

"China has been the largest vehicle market in the world in the first five months of 2009. Industry sales grew 18.8 percent from the same period last year," Wale said.

"Domestic sales by GM China and our joint ventures continue to be strong, rising 33.8 percent year on year in the first five months. We intend to remain an industry leader in China," he said.

Source: Xinhua


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4144

UK Govt Mulls Relaxation of ITV Ad Rules - WSJ.com
UK Govt Mulls Relaxation of ITV Ad Rules By Adrian Kerr of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K. Office of Fair Trading Friday asked the Competition Commission to consider changes to the way ITV Group PLC's (ITV.LN) advertising rates are governed, paving the way for a relaxation of the broadcaster´s regulatory burden. Contract Rights Renewal (CRR), which w......

UK Govt Mulls Relaxation of ITV Ad Rules

By Adrian Kerr of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K. Office of Fair Trading Friday asked the Competition Commission to consider changes to the way ITV Group PLC's (ITV.LN) advertising rates are governed, paving the way for a relaxation of the broadcaster´s regulatory burden.

Contract Rights Renewal (CRR), which was introduced to protect advertisers following the creation of ITV through the merger of Carlton and Granada in 2003, links ad rates to ITV1´s share of commercial impacts, which in turn measures the proportion of overall TV advertising seen by ITV viewers.

As audiences fall, ITV isn´t allowed to increase its ad rates to make up the shortfall, even as its earnings are battered by the downturn in advertising caused by the economic slump.

"Changes in ITV1´s market position and program delivery since CRR was introduced in 2003 mean it is now time to take another look at it," OFT chief executive John Fingleton said in a statement Friday.

"We recommend retaining some protection for advertisers and media buyers so that all parties have an equal playing field in what are challenging economic circumstances."

The OFT said that while flagship channel ITV1´s market position has declined, "it remains almost the only provider of very large commercial audiences, which are of particular value to some advertisers."

There have also been changes in the way the ITV1 schedule is delivered, including a high definition channel, which the Competition Commission also needs to consider.

The OFT launched a consultation on CRR in January to explore a range of possible outcomes including its complete removal, keeping it as it is, and various options in between. The Competition Commission will now make a final decision.

The OFT´s referral to the Competition Commission was as expected and Friday´s statement was short on detail, said Sam Hart at Charles Stanley.

While the CRR system is likely to be relaxed to the broadcaster´s benefit, Hart said, "there are much bigger issues affecting ITV," including the ad downturn in the short term and the entire ad-funded TV model in the longer term, he said. Charles Stanley has a reduce recommendation on the stock.

ITV, the U.K.´s largest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, has seen its earnings slammed by the advertising downturn and in 2008 swung to a full-year net loss. To shore up its financial position it has said it will cut jobs and programming budgets, sell assets and scrap its dividend. It also set an earlier timetable than expected for Michael Grade´s exit as chief executive.

ITV has previously put a figure of GBP300 million on the cost of its regulatory burden, including Contract Rights Renewal, which it has long argued should be reformed.

"ITV welcomes the fact that the OFT has now sent its report and recommendation to the Competition Commission in its review of CRR," the broadcaster said in a statement Friday. It said it will study the detail of the OFT´s full report when it is published, and provide the Competition Commission with "legal, economic and market-based evidence to support the case for abolition."

At 0819 GMT, ITV shares were up 4.7%, or 2 pence, at 39 pence, making it a top-10 riser in percentage terms on a broadly higher FTSE 250.

Company Web site: www.itv.com


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MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4130

EU Takes Action Over UK Internet Privacy Violations

The European Union started legal action against Britain on Tuesday for not properly implementing EU privacy rules to protect personal electronic data. The EU also warned that it could force social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace to hide minors' profiles from search engines.

[Estimated timeframe:2009-]

The European Commission -- the executive branch of the EU -- said Britain should outlaw Internet traffic interception and monitoring unless users give explicit consent that their behavior can be tracked and analyzed.

The commission said the use of a technology known as "Phorm" by U.K. Internet-service companies to monitor web-surfing and deliver targeted advertising violates some data-privacy rules. The commission said the U.K. hadn't required operators to gain the consent of users before gathering their personal data.

"Such a technology in the view of the European Commission and European data protection law can only be used with the prior consent of the user," said EU spokesman Martin Selmayr.

On Tuesday, regulators sent a first legal warning to Britain asking it to explain or change the way it interprets EU rules, because it currently allows Internet traffic interception when it is unintentional, or when a tracker has 'reasonable grounds' to believe that consent was given.

Britain has two months to respond. The European Commission can issue more warnings before taking a government to an EU court, where it may be ordered to change national law or face daily fines.

BT sought consent from users when it tried out Phorm from October to December 2008 in an invitation-only trial. The company says on its website that the trial didn't keep or pass on information that could identify users and what they did. It gave no comment on the EU statement Tuesday.

Internet companies, privacy advocates and regulators disagree on what kind of traffic data is personal -- such as IP addresses that give a location -- and whether storing information on a crowd of people might evade strict privacy rules because they can't be identified individually.

Phorm plans to work with three Internet operators reaching 70% of Britain's broadband market -- BT Group PLC, Virgin Media Inc. and Carphone Warehouse Group PLC's TalkTalk. Virgin said it would like to try out the technology but would do so only with users' consent.

A message left with the London office of Phorm Inc. wasn't immediately returned. Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, which is charged with protecting personal information in the country, said it couldn't comment on the EU move.

Separately, EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said that social networking sites needed to move fast to step up default privacy settings, especially for younger users – and that she would table new EU rules if sites didn't act.

"Is every social networker really aware that technically, all pictures and information uploaded on social networking profiles can be accessed and used by anyone on the web?" she asked in a video message. "Do we not cross the border of the acceptable when, for example, the pictures of the Winnenden school shooting victims in Germany are used by commercial publications just to increase sales?"

Ms. Reding also warned about radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags that can be used as an electronic label on clothing or food to pass on information such as expiry dates or prices to a store cashier or stock checker.

"No European should carry a chip in one of their possessions without being informed precisely what they are used for, with the choice to remove or switch it off at any time," she said.

Stores and other smart-tag users complain that some of the requirements to inform customers or switch off the tags could be burdensome and unnecessary, and might prevent them from investing in the new technology.


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Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=3911



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